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Amelia Bernas Salvador appeals for the safe return of her niece, Lyka Bernas, who went missing in Trinidad last month.

There is a call from halfway around the world, for the safe return of Lyka Bernas, a young Filipino woman who disappeared in this country last year. In an interview with Guardian Media, Amelia Bernas Salvador, Lyka’s aunt explained just how hopeless the family has been since she vanished last December without a trace.

“We have not been able to eat or sleep, when we do rest most of our dreams are about her and she appears to be in pain and she’s asking for help.”

From her home in the Philippines, Salvador explained the pain in grappling with the 29-year-old’s sudden disappearance.

“We are very, very afraid about her safety; it is nearly one month now and it is even more difficult for us since we are so far away and cannot do as much as we want. There was no Christmas or New Year celebration because of how worried we are over Lyka.”

Salvador said she raised Lyka from an infant until she was 8 years old and was particularly close to her, so much so that she tried to dissuade her from coming to Trinidad to find employment.

“I told her don’t go but she said she was of legal age and needed to earn a living and save money to pursue her dreams. She wanted to return to the Philippines and open her own business, she wanted her own restaurant.”

According to Salvador, based on her research, Trinidad appeared to be a beautiful island however, she had some concerns.

“I read about the reports of missing people and about the crime.”

Lyka, who has been in the country for just over three years was last employed locally as a nanny.

She was reported missing on December 13.

She had been living at an apartment on Jerningham Avenue in Belmont.

Police were told that Lyka left to go to a nearby shop and has not been seen since.

Salvador said when they last spoke, her niece said she was almost ready to return home to fulfil her goals.

“We spoke on December 10, she said that maybe next year she would come home, I told her please come home and she said please give me one more year so I can save and then I’d go home.”

Salvador lamented that adding to the family’s frustration was the police’s handling of the matter.

“It is so very slow, the actions of the police have been the same routine, coming to her place, interview the door maid and that’s all, nothing, same procedure every day..,nothing”

According to Eshan Ali, Executive Secretary for the Consulate of the Philippines, the last official update from the police on the investigation into Lyka’s disappearance was late last year.

Guardian Media also attempted to contact the police for an update on the investigation but was unsuccessful. It is not known whether or not certain leads were being pursued or if any person(s) of interest was detained for questioning.

Meanwhile, Salvador, Lyka’s aunt, said every effort to ensure her safety was being made. They have even sought assistance from the Philippines government and have sought help from psychics since they are desperate for any clue that would bring her home.